Ping (zestyping) wrote in usca,
Ping
zestyping
usca

Kingman goes carbon-neutral!

Kingman Hall just voted in a new bylaw that causes us to buy renewable energy credits to offset all of the carbon emissions from our electricity and natural gas use. This means our energy use will no longer contribute to climate change!

A little while ago, i watched the movie "An Inconvenient Truth". Reading about the movie led me to climatecrisis.net, which led me to Native Energy, a company that sells renewable energy credits. I'd heard about Green Tags before, but it was only then that it occurred to me that we might, as a house, buy renewable energy credits to offset the carbon emissions for all the energy we use in our co-op. They are pretty affordable, and the idea of making the entire house carbon-neutral was really exciting.

Over the last 12 months, Kingman used about 6000 therms of natural gas and 74000 kilowatt-hours of electricity (which is not bad for 50 people). According to Native Energy's carbon calculator, this corresponds to 64 tons of carbon emissions, which we can offset for $64 a month or $1.28 per member. (This would be with their WindBuilders program, which uses the money to build new wind turbines in South Dakota.)

The first time i proposed a bylaw to offset our carbon emissions, the measure didn't pass. This time, it passed by a landslide (41 in favour, 3 against, 4 abstaining). Here's the text of the measure:

1. The following will be added to the bylaws:
Carbon Neutrality
  • Kingman Hall values carbon neutrality and aims to be a carbon-neutral house.
  • At least once per semester, we will take measures to ensure zero net carbon emissions from our electricity and natural gas usage for the semester.
  • For this purpose, the House Manager is authorized to spend house funds, charged to members on house bills, to buy renewable energy credits that offset our carbon emissions.

2. The following will be added to the Waste Reduction Manager's job description:

  • At least once per month, obtain records of our electricity and natural gas usage and post them in a highly visible place for house members to see.
  • At least once per semester, estimate our carbon emissions.
  • Research options for buying renewable energy credits.
  • Advise the House Manager on where to buy renewable energy credits and how many credits to buy keep Kingman carbon-neutral.

Wouldn't it be awesome if we could make the entire USCA carbon-neutral? If you're interested in this issue, please feel free to use this wording as a starting point or a reference for a bylaw in your own house. Also, here's the information sheet we posted to explain the bylaw change.

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